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2012 Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

By

Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Image Courtesy of NASCAR

2012 Kobalt Tools 400:

The 2012 Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway marks the first 1.5 mile tri-oval speedway on the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup calendar. "Cookie Cutter" race tracks like this make up a majority of the schedule so this is the first good look for fans as to who might be a threat to win the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship.

Last year Tony Stewart dominated the race but made a four tire stop late in the race when Carl Edwards took only two. Edwards went on to win the race.

Stewart and Edwards continued that battle throughout the season ending 2012 tied for the lead in points. However Las Vegas was Edwards' only win in 2011 so Tony Stewart won the title becasue of the tiebreaker.

Who will steak their claim to a strong 2012 season with an impressive Las Vegas run?

Tickets:

Speedway ticket office (800)644-4444

The Track:

Las Vegas Motor Speedway is a 1.5 mile "D" shaped race track. LVMS was reconfigured in 2007 from the previous 12 degrees of banking up to 20 degrees. The extra banking and the new pavement caused speeds to be climb and Las Vegas is now be one of the fastest tracks on the Sprint Cup circuit.

Race Distance:

267 laps = 400.5 miles

The Big Picture:

Denny Hamlin is the current point leader coming into Las Vegas by virtue of his win in Phoenix. Hamlin has been fast so far this season but the 1.5 mile tri-oval will show who really can contend for the Cup.

The Unofficial 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Standings:

  1. Denny Hamlin 0
  2. Greg Biffle -6
  3. Kevin Harvick -8
  4. Matt Kenseth -10
  5. Dale Earnhardt Jr. -17
  6. Martin Truex Jr. -18
  7. Mark Martin -18
  8. Joey Logano -19
  9. Kyle Busch -23
  10. Carl Edwards -26

Storylines:

In recent years Las Vegas Motor Speedway has done a good job of predicting who will be a true contender for the Sprint Cup title. Since this is the first cookie-cutter race of the year and tracks like this make up a large percentage of the season, and The Chase, Las Vegas is the first chance for teams to show their muscle where it counts most.

In 2010 Jimmie Johnson won in Las Vegas on his way to his fifth consecutive Sprint Cup crown.

Last year Tony Stewart dominated all day before a four tire stop late in the race cost him the win when Carl Edwards only took two. However 2011 Las Vegas race winner Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart both went on to have impressive seasons. The two drivers ended the season tied for the lead in NASCAR Sprint Cup series points.

Who will flex their muscle this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway?

Media Coverage:

TV: Fox Sunday March 11th 2:30PM Eastern.

Radio: PRN and SIRIUS Satellite

Actual Race: 3:00PM Eastern

Recent Events:

2011 Polesitter: Matt Kenseth

2011 Winner: Carl Edwards

Previously...:

The 2011 Kobalt Tools 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway didn't go as planned for many racers. Tony Stewart had the best car but could only manage a second place finish.

Hometown boys Kyle and Kurt Busch expected great things but both came up short of their dream of winning on their home track. The Busch brothers came into the race as the point leaders but Kurt ended the day in second while Kyle had fallen completely out of the top ten.

In the end Carl Edwards' crew made a great two tire decision and got to the checkered flag first.

Predictions:

Jimmie Johnson would seem to be the obvious favorite to win this weekend in Las Vegas. Johnson has four wins here including an impressive three in a row from 2005 - 2007. However, this time I'm not going to stack my fantasy team with favorites. I'm going to look a little deeper and see what we can uncover.

Kevin Harvick has never won a Sprint Cup race in Las Vegas but over the last four Las Vegas Motor Speedway events no one has scored more points than him. Harvick had a fast horse in Phoenix last week and might well have won that race if he had one more gallon of gas. Kevin Harvick knows how to get the job done and I think he will be factor this weekend in Las Vegas.

For my backup pick I am going off the charts to a driver that few are talking about as a serious LAs Vegas contender. I think Martin Truex Jr. is going to have a good weekend. He finished sixth here last year and has been haunting the lead pack so far this season. Truex is going to get his second NASCAR Sprint Cup career win this year and Las Vegas just might be the time.

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